Serious Fraud Office


S-G David Collins
Wellington: 25 August 2007
We do not want to say too much
about the new Solicitor General
David Collins. It is far better you
see what the chief law-
enforcement officer of our fine
country is like by reading his
own words (with subsequent
commentary of course). READ

dateline: November 2006

Michael Stiassny is seeking the
shelter of the New Zealand
Courts yet again for his role in
what is being recognized as the
largest tax scam in New
Zealand history, the $1.7 Billion
CWF forestry tax dodge.

The Inland Revenue
Department shut the tax dodge
down after nearly four years of
operation and ordered the
parties to pay back the taxes, as
well as millions of dollars in
penalties. The tax dodge
vehicle, CWF Holdings Ltd, was
then cast off into liquidation by
the perpetrators. The appoint-
ment of the liquidators by
Stiassny and others was
subsequently challenged in the
High Court at Auckland by Trinity
Foundation Limited, a charitable
foundation administered by the
Anglican Church that was used
by Auckland Solicitors Bradbury
& Muir as the cover for the tax
avoidance scheme.

Trinity claims not to have been
paid in excess of $12 million
owed it by CanWest, the local
division of the Canadian Media
conglomerate. Stiassny and
Grant Graham are alleged to
have breached their duties to
the company and engaged in a
breach of trust by acting
minimally in a de facto fiduciary
arrangement with CanWest.
In an appeal brought by Trinity,
and heard by the Court of
Appeal on 18 September 2006,
Trinity counsel Bruce Stewart
QC sought the right to pursue
Stiassny individually for his key
role in the failed tax scam,
noting that the current
liquidators are unlikely to do so
as they are beholden to
Stiassny and certain others
involved. As of this printing, no
ruling has yet come down from
the Court of Appeal. The IRD
has not legally prosecuted
those involved in the scheme.
Anonymity was granted as part
of a settlement reached.

Two of the three judges
considering the Trinity appeal,
namely Court of Appeal
President William Young and
Justice Terence Arnold, are at
the same time considering an
appeal on the papers for a stay
of a High Court costs ruling that
Stiassny secured against
Auckland businessman Vince
Siemer for an alleged violation
of a High Court injunction, an
injunction that Stiassny has
claimed prevents Mr. Siemer
from revealing information
regarding other dubious
accounting schemes that Mr.
Stiassny has been involved in.
In order to obtain the injunction,
Mr. Stiassny submitted an
affidavit to the Auckland High
Court on 8 April 2005 wherein
he swore that none of the
allegations Mr. Siemer had
made about him on the website were true.
Stiassny then filed a $1.25
million defamation suit against
Mr. Siemer on 12 April 2005, as
he was required to do in
exchange for obtaining the ex-
parte injunction against Siemer,
but he has repeatedly failed to
advance his case against Mr.
Siemer since obtaining the

On 6 October 2006, Stiassny
failed to comply with a court
imposed deadline that he
provide discovery in that case.
These matters are part of a
firestorm of controversy currently
surrounding Mr. Stiassny. Last
week, Stiassny refused to allow
media cameras into the Vector
Limited AGM held in Auckland.
The very next day Stiassny was
the catalyst for a raucous revolt
that disrupted the Auckland
Energy Consumers Trust AGM
and required the unsuccessful
intervention of security
personnel. Those who did not
realise Stiassny was in the
room had their attention
directed to the man wearing the
dark business suit and the
'Dumb-and-Dumber' haircut
sitting to one side of the room.
Stiassny was then whisked
from the building by Vector

The AECT was the 100% owner
of Vector Limited until Chairman
Stiassny led a 24.9% sell-off in
the form of a public share
offering on the NZX exchange in
August 2005. The need to pay
down Vector’s ballooning $3.15
Billion debt – in part a result of
its contentious acquisition of
NGC the year before – was cited
at the time as a primary reason
why the public equity float was
necessary. Yet only 2% of the
debt was ultimately paid down
after the successful 25% share

Mr. Stiassny has been publicly
claiming he grew Vector from a
$1 Billion company to a $5
Billion company in 3 years. At
the Auckland Consumers Trust
AGM much of the controversy
was directed at Vector’s claim
that assets had appreciated
17.9% in the last fiscal year and
that nearly $1.7 billion (or 30%)
of Vector’s current valuation was
in the form of “goodwill”. As a
comparison, Vector’s valuation
of its goodwill is now roughly
equivalent to the goodwill of the
Coca-Cola Companies at
US$1.2 Billion.

Local News: 26/7/06
Auckland judge prevents
the Auckland Coroner from
releasing his findings into
Robert Fardell QC's
The public were
again denied the right to know
the full circumstances
surrounding prominent
barrister Robert Fardell QC's
fatal fall from the 12 metre
high Takapuna Head cliffs on
11 December 2005 when an
Auckland judge ruled the
Auckland Coroner was
prevented from releasing his
findings until judicial review
proceedings are conducted.
This action follows months of
cover-up, where the last
person to see the defendant
alive (lawyer Christopher
Morris) refused to grant the
police an interview and the
family hired prominent
barrister Harry Waalkens QC
to cover up the suicide and
ensure the public inquest was
conducted in secret
Years of cronyism have
created a siege mentality that
pervades the Auckland
judiciary. Concerns are
rampant as to what secrets
Fardell may have wanted to
get off his chest before he fell
to his death and what damage
this may cause to the vested
interests within the provincial
and secretive court.
Several lawyers contacted
expressed grave concern that
there was no oversight or
accountability of judges and
this was yet another example
where the Court put the
protection of one of their own
before the public good and
interest. One called it "ugly"
and another said that it
demonstrates that the Court
operates first and foremost to
protect its favoured members.

Related News Links:
sold out his friend
Robert Fardell
before he died.

Archive 22-6-06
Secret inquest into
death of Robert Fardell
exposed -
In a dramatic
turnaround to initial
reports, the Auckland
Coroner, Murray Jamieson,
today was forced to
concede Robert Fardell QC
did not drown on 11 Dec.
2005 while swimming but
instead suffered massive
injuries from a fall before
drowning. This ruling came
almost 4 months after an
attempt by the Coroner's
office to conduct the initial
public inquest (held on 28
February 2006) in secret,
in contravention of the
Coroner's Act 1988 that
required public notification.
Despite the body being
found on rocks at the base
of Takapuna Head cliffs on
Auckland's North Shore,
and no suspicions of
homicide, the Coroner did
not suggest death was a
suicide. Prior to this ruling,
Fardell family lawyer Harry
Waalken QC had
attempted unsuccessfully to
suppress all the inquest
evidence, arguing further
that the death could be
accidental and that the
Coroner had no standing to
suggest to the contrary.
This position ignored Mr.
Fardell having had to
breach a fence to reach the
cliff edge. Fardell was 52
years old when he died.

website is a public
service, dedicated to
providing information
and transparency
regarding activities
affecting Kiwis that are
not being accurately
reported elsewhere.
Where any specific
information on this
website is questioned
and supported as
inaccurate it is either
pulled off the site
immediately or space is
allowed for a qualified
response, prominently
placed on this site.

Anyone may report
errors or omissions
contained on this site via
the Contact link.
Submissions will be

promptly acknowledged,

examined for accuracy
and, if approved, will be
immediately changed or
17 August 2009
Power rates have increased an astronomical 80% since Michael
Stiassny took over as Chairman of Vector Energy seven years ago.
During this short time, Stiassny's own compensation doubled and
it is reported he additionally received loan kickbacks on high risk
bridge financial products he took advantage of in his early days to
bring huge amounts of debt upon the company. This occurred during the disastrous growth and
acquisition phrase promoted by Stiassny with the help of his girlfriend Karen Sherry, an Auckland
Energy Consumer Trustee and current board member of Vector. This, in turn, forced Vector to sell off
its most prized asset (the Auckland to Wellington lines) to Chinese interests last year simply to keep
from having their credit rating downgraded. Such a credit downgrading would have likely resulted in
much of Vector's debt being called due, as well as certain interest rate increases on its massive

As a monopoly provider of power to Auckland and Wellington, the huge costs of these blunders by
the Board of Vector Limited had to be paid for by the unwitting consumer. It is safe to say that
electricity rates have increased at twice the rate they would have if Stiassny had not rose to a position
of power and pushed such a misguided strategy of acquisition and amassing huge debt on the

Ms Sherry has the personally distinction of being sacked from the energy board after the massive
power outages in Auckland in 1999 were determined to be caused by neglect by the leadership.

The New Zealand government last week revealed the result of their own investigation that New
Zealanders are paying far more for power than they ought to be. The government did not reveal that
this was largely due to the gross mismanagement of Vector by Mr Stiassny. Mr Stiassny put this
once financially sound government owned enterprise into such financial straits that, even with the
sell off of his most valuable asset, the company's financial position is still in poorer condition than
when Stiassny took over the Chairmanship with the help of a few banker friends who like his
propensity to borrow money.

In 2005, Michael Stiassny was giving powerpoint presentations around the Country which falsely
showed he had increased the value of Vector from a $1 billion company to a $5 billion company in
three years. The deception was on the scale used by Enron executives leading up to its infamous

In 2006, Mr Stiassny went on a public relations blitz viciously attacking Commerce Commissioner
Paula Rebstock for not allowing monopoly electricity provider Vector to raise its rates to its captive
consumers in Auckland and Wellington as much as it said it needed to survive. In a defeat of
consumer protections, Vector prevailed when it became obvious that Stiassny had created a
financial mess of the company that could not be solved without a public bailout.

As a result of its investigation and findings, the government has promised to implement steps to
lower power bills for consumers and resolve the persistent problem of power black-outs and brown-
outs. We will see.

12 February 2009
Michael Stiassny was appointed Chairman of the New Zealand Racing Board in January 2007 by
then Government Racing Minister Winston Peters. Within weeks, Stiassny's Insolvency firm Ferrier
Hodgson (now Korda Mentha) was granted a long term consulting contract by the Racing Board.

A year later, sentenced to six weeks in the notorious Mr. Eden maximum
security prison for merely publishing this site. The official charge imposed by Judy Potter was
"conspiracy to defeat the cause of justice" which seemed Freudian given Ms. Potter's refusal to
allow accurate recording of the proceedings, her disallowing cross examination of witnesses
against the accused, conducting part of the proceedings outside the presence of the accused
and his lawyer, making multiple findings of 'beyond reasonable doubt' based on untested
hearsay evidence and refusing to recuse herself where both the accused and his lawyer had
formal complaints pending of judicial misconduct against this judge - on separate matters -
including ruling on behalf of her brother-in-law in a case without disclosing her relationship to her
brother-in law litigant.

The NZ press is largely forbidden from publishing stories of judicial misconduct and, where they
do, the suspect judges are granted name suppression. Tony Stickley with the
New Zealand
informed the editor of Kiwisfirst that even when the Herald is correct in its reporting, the
Court awards a hundred thousand dollars in costs against them that they cannot afford.

Fundamental law violations by judges have become commonplace since New Zealand abolished
the Privy Council in England as an impartial appeal Court in favour of the newly formed 'Supreme
Court' in 2004. At the time there was widespread concern among New Zealand's lawyers that
such a move would promulgate up the ladder the 'old-boy's network' favours that had made a
cesspool of established law in the lower courts. Key lawyers accurately pointed out the
tremendous number of NZ Court cases that had been overturned as proof that the Privy Council
was needed to instil discipline in a judiciary that had become corrupted by special interests. This
concern was validated by New Zealand's closest ally when, shortly after the Supreme Court was
formed in 2005, Australia refused to extradite two defrocked priests to stand trial in New
Zealand, saying flatly this refusal was because they were unlikely to get a fair trial here. Two
months ago the Privy Council issued its last New Zealand Case ruling, overturning the conviction
of David Bain for murder due to fundamental failures by the New Zealand Courts in following due
process procedures. When Kiwis generally are respected the world over for their ingenuity and
honestly, this embarrassment is a tremendous blow to national prestige.

Since the abolishment of the Privy Council as an independent judiciary, New Zealand has lost
considerable status among law-respecting democracies. Economically, many international
businesses (sensing the legal risks) have shunned having operations in New Zealand. A large
number of New Zealand companies have quietly moved their operations offshore. Most Kiwis
point to the new Chief Justice Sian Elias' husband Hugh Fletcher being one of New Zealand's
most connected businessmen as proof that an impartial Supreme Court is an impossibility in, at
least, commercial cases. Even this damning indictment neglects the greatest threat to natural
justice imposed by its formation. For example, it is doubtful that the two Justices rejecting
freedom of expression in this case would pass muster for appointments in any other country.
Euphemistically called 'constructionists' Justice Tipping and McGrath have both worked to
create their personal brand of English law in the South Pacific, only to take the Country on a wild
ride in the process. Three years ago, Justice Tipping unsuccessfully tried to create a new tort
(the Hosking case) that would make it illegal to take photographs of people in public. As a Court
of Appeal judge, McGrath gave vitriolic speeches about how lawyers needed immunity from
negligence lawsuits by their clients. Fortunately, his was an isolated voice, but the telling part is
that he was the member of that court to be appointed to the New Supreme Court.

In rejecting the appeal, the Supreme Court said the trial judge legally used her discretion. On the
underlying issue of Freedom of Expression and the Court of Appeal's refusal to consider this
legal guarantee despite certain legal precedent that they must, Justices Tipping and McGrath
cited their own discretion to have the Supreme Court not consider this thorny issue.

The editor of this website has vowed to fight on and has lodged a complaint on his imprisonment
with Amnesty International and the United Nations Council on Human Rights.##

14 April 2007
In April 2005, Michael Stiassny was a desperate man. Sure, he
was pulling down $7 million dollars plus a year from his insolvency
practice and another $1 million dollars or so a year from his
various directorships, but the house of cards that provided this
substantial booty was about to collapse.
[information blocked
by order of theNew Zealand Courts]

Moreover, this
[blocked by order of the New Zealand Court] was
able to financially bilk companies - was coming back to haunt the
once venerated insolvency practitioner due to
in Auckland and a website being

With so much at stake, Stiassny had to act quickly. He hired top
lawyer Julian Miles QC, chairman of Shortland Chambers (where
many of the current judges on the Auckland Court hail from),
to obtain an injunction shutting down the website and billboards.
Paying Mr. Miles $900 per hour (not an exaggeration; actually $900.00/hr) was not
enough though. Stiassny was required to state in a sworn affidavit that the allegations
on the website against him were untrue, this in order to enable Mr. Miles to work his
magic with his fellow judges. Stiassny's already large nose grew a little longer.

For a time, this strategy worked. Mr. Miles was able to get then High Court justice Ellen
France to issue an injunction that decreed there was no reasonable defence of truth to
allegations against Staissny despite the incontrovertible [CENSORED BY ORDER OF A
NEW ZEALAND JUDGE], ordering that the billboards and website must be shut down to
protect Mr. Stiassny's reputation. For her role in what affects every New Zealander,
Justice France was properly rewarded. But to be fair to the judge, she also honestly
thought that would be the end of the matter and that her judicial transgressions were
justified because she was preventing what could very well result in a catastrophic blow to
the financial markets. Certainly, she rationalized, Mr. Stiassny's seemingly
[blocked by
the New Zealand Court]
did not extend to public utility Vector Limited, the monopoly
electric utility of which Stiassny was chairman and which also was at the time deeply
involved in a complex and expensive acquisition and public share float. Better, she
thought, that a private word be taken up with Stiassny to ensure this was not the case.
Hence, Stiassny had to lie again and, like Pinocchio, his nose grew a little longer.

No doubt this is where Judge France's inexperience (on the bench one year) and
immaturity showed. Before her judicial appointment Ellen France had never been
anything other than a political bureaucrat. She was too trusting - some would correctly
say intimidated - by the likes of Mr. Stiassny and Mr. Miles and she wanted to believe
that operating outside the law in this case was justified. But once having made her
decision, it was not a case of misinterpretation of law or facts that regularly can be
expected to resolve itself in the higher courts. What Ellen France did was a clear breach
of her judicial oath and her judicial colleagues knew full well that risk of her abuse of
power being exposed posed a huge dilemma for the Court as a whole. She needed to be
personally protected from what clearly was a lapse in personal character.

The next stage in the legal challenge was quite different. At the Court of Appeal, the
case fell into the lap of a close personal associate of Stiassny, Justice Robert Chambers.
Chambers, a much more intellectual judge, albeit corrupt, saw immediately that Justice
France's decision was untenable. He needed to re-write history in order to
. And what Chambers did was pure genius. He refused
to overturn France's decision and even refused to address the validity of the points of
appeal, choosing instead to say the matter was a contractual dispute that singularly
warranted dismissal of the appeal and maintaining of the injunction. But Chambers J
had a further problem. The course he embarked on contrasted with the Ellen France
judgment and was not a legal point cross-appealed. Consequently, Justice Chambers
audaciously wrote that by ruling this way he was merely agreeing with what Justice
thought - despite the fact that Justice France's judgment said the opposite on this
point. And this is when all hell broke loose in the Court.

Now both Justice Chambers and Justice France had crossed the line. What happened
next is a testament to the reality that judges, with few exceptions, are lawyers with a
past: lawyers who are additionally not given to allowing the skeletons of their fellow
judges being exposed when it could very well lead to their own skeletons being exposed.
This is a particular risk and concern in the cloistered Court setting where it is common
knowledge among judges what the others had for lunch, let alone what bribe they took in
1988. It is against this backdrop that the President of the Court of Appeal, Willy Young,
a lawyer with his own sordid past, became intimately and irreversibly involved. see
related story It is not that Will Young is incapable of being a decent and honest judge so
much as the fact that his own history now prevents him from preaching morals to the
judges he now oversees. The reality is that they would simply laugh at his hypocrisy. A
court insider has revealed that it is his immoral vulnerability that was instrumental in
Willy Young's appointment as President of the Court in 2006. In the democracy of the
corporate world, leaders are often chosen for their inability to wield too much power. So
it was with Will Young.

There is no particular fondness between Will Young and Robert Chambers, but their
fates were by now inexplicably linked. In an appeal on 8 February 2007, Will Young
presided over another legal challenge that not only laid bare the deceptions of Robert
Chambers and the breaches by Ellen France but, perhaps more importantly, revealed
incontrovertible evidence that Mr. Stiassny lied under oath when he swore an affidavit
that, among other things, said he
attempted cover-up was working as planned. Another lie, and Stiassny's nose grew
longer still.

On 4 April 2007, President Will Young of the New Zealand Court of Appeal ruled that
despite all this evidence, despite the unchallenged evidence of 9 witnesses who attested
to judicial impropriety that included conducting court proceedings ex-parte and the
oppression of witness cross-examination, and despite irrefutable evidence that the
injunction was improperly obtained and issued, he saw no basis for the Court to take
action. In doing so, Justice Young may have protected Stiassny and his fellow judges but
it is too early to tell whether, and to what extent, his actions have harmed the Court's
reputation and New Zealand as a whole. In the meantime, Stiassny's nose keeps growing
and he gets still fatter financially gouging at the public trough and at the expense of so
many hard-working and honest Kiwis.#